Outside the Box


The river is famous to the fish.


The loud voice is famous to silence,

which knew it would inherit the earth

before anybody said so.


The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds

watching him from the birdhouse.


The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.


The idea you carry close to your bosom

is famous to your bosom.


The boot is famous to the earth,

more famous than the dress shoe,

which is famous only to floors.


Wow! You've Changed

You’ve changed.

You used to be so

and now you’re all

like, you’ve transformed

I don’t know how to describe

it’s like

you don’t like canasta anymore

you text IN ALL CAPS

your selfies are so


like, are you out to prove something

you’re a lion

you’re a bear

you’re a maggot

you’re a virus

I just don’t know

if we can be friends anymore.


To Windrim or sycamore

           rustle cicada or bark and to Wayne

           to rustle and psoas and psoas to Belmont and Germantown hills

hills as to nearer Plateau as to Central and whisper wall Indian

summer to sleeves or the sleeveless groin as to forward

and dog shit and Cliveden to Wieland the whispering creek

as to Windrim

or mounting as Chestnut to backslid

the Juniper Schuylkill

           to boulder the pound to clover mite

vernal or rake as to tendon

exhaust of to Windrim and spare Wissahickon

Let Us Be Fireflies

Let Us Be Fireflies

                          All day we

     practice morse code signals

                                telegraphing ghosts

                                                    of intent.


                                 Between us

                                               unsayable things

         heavy as bone.

                               For any hope of plain

                 speech we must do away

                                  with skin suit propriety &


For You Shall Be Called to Account

The ancestors of everyone I’ve let into my body

are gathered in a small room with one window,

no lights. Yes, the room is crowded. Yes, there

are no chairs. Yes, they are talking. Why are we

here, says the Nazi resister. Where are the chairs,

says the Viking (no horns). Where is the light, say

the people with their new French name hung

around their necks heavy like a long black cross.

Here, says the grand wizard, and a long white


11 am. Time to wake up.


Muscles sore, jaw clenched, warm light


scattering dreams of violence across


the bedroom. I've chosen a self


too large for this body. Too willing to


change for others. Too beautiful


to appear in public. I’d tell you to walk


in my feet but they’re all I have left.


I’ve been weathered down to the


ankles by all the news reports. All the


listening. All the not doing.

Lima Limón :: Madurez

I wear a peineta & pin a mantilla to my hair

I want to be Conchita Piquer warning women

about becoming lemons. The goal: tener alguien


quien me quiera. I want to be my mother singing me

to sleep: A la lima y al limón, te vas quedar soltera.

My grandmother hated peinetas, mantillas & women


who wore too much gold. She'd say this pulling my hair

tight into a bun. She hated peinetas & mantillas:

Pero la necesidad obliga. I don't want to be the woman

The Ringing Bell

I used to liken a poem to praying. Is that right? 

Not the woo and gratitude praying served by queer witches.

Childhood praying. As a girl I genuflected to the tabernacle

and insisted on sitting next to the stained glass window.

On the right kind of Sunday sun would send a slice of pink

light through the glass and down to the porcelain tile floor.

If I reached my hand out, pink light made my fingers glow.

Hand bells rang as padre said hoc est enim corpus meum.


I've Dreamt of You So Often

I've dreamt of you so often that you become unreal.

Is there still time to reach this living body and to kiss on its mouth the birth of

the voice so dear to me?

I've dreamt of you so often that my arms used to embracing your shadow and

only crossing on my own chest might no longer meet your body's shape.

And before the real appearance of what has haunted and ruled me for days

and years I would doubtless become a shadow.

Oh the shifts of feeling.

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